DC promised big changes to the DC Universe in the final pages of Dark Nights: Death Metal #7 and it appears as if it delivered. So what is the "Infinite Frontier"?
Forget the Multiverse, how does a brand new Omniverse sound?
For you readers who haven't absorbed it all directly, we suggest you do. Heck, in addition to being a significant tipping point for the history of the DCU and how stories will be told moving forward, it's a good read in its own right.
But for those not yet convinced, we've created a quick field guide to what's different about the DC Universe as of January 5.
We'll be getting into greater detail about some of these changes this week, including what we hope is an interview with architect Scott Snyder coming soon.
For the moment, however, the following is what you need to know about Infinite Frontier.
First of all, before getting into the more granular details, any questions about whether Death Metal is in continuity are definitively answered - in the affirmative.
Last week we were mostly spot-on in terms of where and how events of Death Metal fit into the greater continuity picture, but we were off on one important detail.
Yes, the entirety of Death Metal and its tie-ins appear to have taken place in a pocket of time before and/or after the events of the main monthly continuity titles, like 'The Joker War' in the Batman titles. But as opposed to Death Metal's events rewriting itself out of history, that didn't happen … or not fully anyway.
Death Metal happened, all its participants remember it happening, and the DC will move on after its events, although some clean-up is done to restore Earth and the heroes to normal, canceling out the major changes that occurred before and during the series.
Almost all altered heroes and locations are restored to their status quo before the Batman Who Laughs attack (Superman's hair restored to its classic look is mentioned as a specific example), and some heroes that died during the event story (which includes the entire Batman family as per the final issue) are said to now be alive (and more on that later.)
So given that reset and the rest of the changes we detail following, Newsarama sticks by our assessment that Infinite Frontier is a reboot, albeit a soft reboot, but that determination may be in the eye of the beholder.
That said, let's get into the more specific developments:
1. The DC Multiverse is now a DC Omniverse
Not only has all of the 52 Earths of the previously-known Multiverse destroyed during Death Metal been restored but in some cases they're new versions (including Earth-3 that will feature in March's new iteration of The Crime Syndicate) and new Earths are being created expanding upon the 52 that's been more or less canon since Grant Morrison's Multiversity.
And not only that, but there are now multiple Multiverses in what's now an Omniverse. So now where there was once one Earth-0 in the Multiverse, there is now theoretically multiple Earth-0s in the Omniverse, which may require new terminology (Multiverse-0? Earth-0a?)
2. Earth-0 is no longer the center of the Multiverse
Meaning 'Multiverse-Prime' (our term, not DC's). That designation now belongs to two mysterious sources of energy, one of which is referred to as a likely Earth - an "Alpha world" - given the name Elseworld, a familiar term to DC readers, of course, that refer to alternate DC realities and futures like Kingdom Come and Justice League: The Nail.
Little else is revealed about Elseworld, other than it seems to have an even more mysterious opposite world.
Although not named or referred to other than that, it seems like an opposite to an Alpha world might eventually be identified as an Omega world.
This piques our interest because Darkseid is also name-checked in the final pages as one of the "major powers of the old Multiverse" that hasn't been detected yet. Seems like an Omega world would be a fitting home for DC's preeminent cosmic supervillain.
3. The new super-SUPER team
All of this is explained to the no-longer omnipotent Wally West, by members of the Totality, a sort of DCU star chamber of superheroes and supervillains that is described as "a shield protecting our world from future threats, manned by its greatest minds."
The team is housed in a headquarters on the dark side of the Moon and is "the next stage of the Halls of Justice and Doom."
Its members include Hawkgirl, Mr. Terrific, Martian Manhunter, Talia ah Ghul, Vandal Savage, and Lex Luthor.
It'll be interesting to see if this team is immediately picked up on by DC or if Snyder is just planting seeds for the future.
4. The map is back
In explaining the new structure of 'Multiverse Prime' (again, our term) the map of the Multiverse circa 2014 and Grant Morrison's Multiversity makes a cameo appearance and it's explained the Hall of Heroes still exists, which may be significant given President Superman from Earth-23 is seen on the cover to March's Infinite Frontier.
The Dark Multiverse is also still present, which is no surprise given how the Dark Multiverse is still commercially ripe for versions of DC heroes and classic stories with a dark twist.
5. Bring out your dead
As mentioned previously, not only are "some" of the characters that lost their lives during Death Metal alive (does that include the Batman Who Laughs before Wonder Woman killed him? Hmmm?), but Snyder/DC has left the door open to just about any character who was dead now being alive.
"Not just those who fell in battle, but people who died before recent events…"
We dive into more detail about that revelation here.
6. It all matters ... but how?
Finally, the mechanics of DC continuity/canon are either still to be defined or left open-ended on purpose.
As DC has already detailed, the result of Death Metal is that everything is now continuity in some respects.
Barry explains to Wally that as the result of Wonder Woman's battle with the Darkest Knight, "the "timeline was unknotted once and for all and all our memories returned."
Hawkgirl then explains to Wally that Hypertime is healing and that characters will likely experience flashes of events that happened in Hypertime and alternate pasts "in pretty epic fashion."
The clear implication of Death Metal is that hard reboots like the original Crisis On Infinite Earths and Flashpoint/'The New 52' are irrelevant and DC is no longer going to attempt to cram continuity into a cohesive timeline.
How, however, the lives of the 'current' Superman and Batman and Flash, etc. are distinguished between the lives of previous versions - how or if a narrative canon is established - remains to be seen. Will every major DC character essentially become Hawkman - a conglomeration of past lives?
Whatever the forthcoming answer or non-answer, we'll be keeping tabs on it.
Death Metal is what Scott Snyder calls an anti-Crisis. Check out all of DC’s Crises from best to worst.